UK farming unions buy time for farmers on new rodenticides training

UK farming unions have secured the option for farmers to use their farm assurance scheme membership as ‘proof of competence’ as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) announce new rules on the purchase and use of professional rodenticide bait which will come into force next year.

Following an EU directive in 2011, the HSE is required to put into place a scheme to reduce the risk from rodenticide use in the wider environment.

The options announced will be an interim measure until at least December 31 2017 as a result of successful lobbying by the UK farming unions during the discussions on the new UK Rodenticide Stewardship Regime with HSE and the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use (CRRU). The farming unions said this would be vital in allowing farmers the time and flexibility to undertake this training.

There are estimated to be in excess of 90,000 agricultural users of rodenticides across the UK who would need to have been trained and certified by the June 1 2016 if they had wanted to continue to buy and use professional rodenticide bait on their premises. However, in these discussions, the farming unions successfully argued this would be hugely impractical. It also underlined the fact that food quality, human and animal health, farm business profitability would all be at risk if essential rodent control were under threat.

NFU Vice President Guy Smith said: “Farmers take their responsibilities with the use of rodent control products very seriously but the NFU is acutely aware that compulsory and time-consuming training can be impractical to fit in alongside the everyday running of the farm.

“It is essential for many farmers to have access to these products for farm biosecurity and for this reason we have lobbied hard on behalf of our members to secure the necessary additional time and flexibility to reduce this burden.

“Even with this extra time and flexibility it is still important that farmers take practical steps to consider the options that are now available to them to avoid a last minute rush in December 2017.”

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